IT specialists now drafted in schools to introduce new systems
The IT industry is going through significant changes at the moment, with new technologies altering the way people work in a number of sectors.
Not least of these is education, where an abundance of new services and technologies have been introduced to change how pupils learn. Even IT teachers can find it challenging to keep up to date with trends in the industry while teaching their classes the existing curriculum, and this opens up new opportunities for specialists in the industry.
Does the education sector offer more opportunities for IT specialists?
Thanks to the influx of new technology in the education sector, the industry could offer a number of opportunities to IT specialists. Research from HR service provider Giant Group found that freelance IT specialists are being asked to install new systems and programmes and upgrade existing ones into schools to guarantee they are able to satisfy demands caused by syllabus changes.
Matthew Brown, managing director of the organisation, said: “Recent additions to the national curriculum have heightened demand for supply teachers who can handle subjects where schools have struggled to hire permanent staff. This isn’t surprising as experts in subjects such as coding, programming and 3D printing are not always readily available and, consequently, supply teachers are being utilised to help to plug the gaps.”
Mr Brown explained that there is an increased demand for specialist IT contractors who are being utilised to satisfy the less well known pressures that are placed on schools’ internal systems. He went on to say that not every school has a devoted IT department that is capable of teaching complex programmes.
These new opportunities could help to increase growth in the sector, allowing specialists to become even more attractive to leading education institutions. One of the fields that has seen significant growth is data security, where high numbers of businesses are calling for improved anti-virus and data protection measures.
Demand for IT skills on the rise
Schools are beginning to prioritise computing skills as part of their basic curriculum. New government proposals are aiming to improve knowledge of computing among children as young as five. As part of the syllabus for Key Stage 1, pupils in local authority schools need to “understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented on digital devices, that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions; create and debug simple programme”. It is hoped the plans will improve the number of programmers in the UK as businesses struggle to match levels of demand.
Rising pay for IT security specialists
Due to a shortage in cyber security skills, there is a great demand for contracted specialists instead of full-time staff. In December, the number of cyber security contracts had more than doubled compared to 12 months ago, according to a survey by Technojobs. The website found that the daily rate for cyber security specialists has risen by 16% over the last year.
Could the approach be replicated in Europe?
It will be interesting to see if the rising demand for IT specialists in British schools will be reflected elsewhere in Europe, too. Clearly, the British government has prioritised better cyber security education, but there are no signs of this being replicated on the Continent just yet.
However, this could soon change as a recent survey by Germany’s IT association Bitkom found that 85% of parents and 73% of teachers in Germany are in favor of making computer science a mandatory school subject in German schools. Bitkom president Dieter Kempf said, “This could prepare our students for life in a digital world and spark their interest in IT careers”.
In the long term, it is hoped that this initiative could help meet the rising demand for IT specialists. Currently, there are more than 41,000 vacant IT jobs in Germany according to Bitkom.
What does the IT security sector look like in 2015?
As companies now become more conscious of IT security, it will be interesting to see how the sector develops in 2015. Increased investment could lead to more sophisticated defences against viruses and malware, but the threat of cyber crime is stronger than ever before. This is evidenced through the recent cyber attacks at Sony and the government’s push for better cyber security education in the country. By teaching children about data security earlier in life, it should hopefully pave the way for highly skilled personnel in future generations.